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Nikki Haley praises Trump's bypassing of Palestinians as key to normalisation deal

Nikki Haley at the 2020 Republican National Convention [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 September, 2020

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'Rather than focus on the Palestinians, which is what every president has thought they had to do to negotiate peace, he focused on Iran,' Nikki Haley said on Trump.
Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley heaped praise on Donald Trump during an interview on Wednesday, saying that his focus on Iran rather than the Palestinians allowed him to broker normalisation between Israel and UAE and Bahrain.

Speaking to Fox News the day after the White House signing ceremony, Haley said the agreement was "no fluke".

Haley claimed that Trump's strategy began with building trust with Arab leaders while focusing on the threat posed by Iran.

“Go back to the first foreign policy speech the president gave, it was to the Arab community, and he said: Let us all work together in the name of peace. And he did something no other president has done," she said. "Rather than focus on the Palestinians, which is what every president has thought they had to do to negotiate peace, he focused on Iran."

"He brought all of the Arab countries together and said: Let’s all fight against terrorism," Haley added. "And that’s what this was. This was about the fact that this peace deal came together simply out of the fact they trusted the president. They trusted him because he got out of the Iran deal; they trusted him because he was honest with them; they trusted him because he showed strength in a time when we needed it."

Supporters of the normalisation agreement have unanimously praised it as a "peace deal", despite the UAE and Israel never having fought a conflict.

Critics of the agreement have labelled it a public relations exercise for Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and leaders of Gulf countries, which helps to perpetuate Israel's occupation of the West Bank and siege of Gaza.

Meanwhile, Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accords in 2018 has been cited as the key driver of soaring tensions in the Gulf.

Haley added that Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, was part of the president’s policy of “honesty” with the Arab states.

“The president’s idea to peace was being honest and acknowledging truths, which was moving the embassy to the capital of Israel, which was Jerusalem,” she said. “It was getting out of the Iran deal. And it was bringing them together in the name of: Let’s do away with terrorism. The number one sponsor of terrorism is Iran, and if we’re going to all get together and do this, we have to start acknowledging the truth. And that’s what the president did.”

Haley did not mention the fact that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly called the agreement "a stab in the back".

Speaking about her time at the UN, Haley said: “If you go back to my first year at the United Nations at the start of this administration, the hurdles that it took to get from that moment, where the Arab countries were condemning Israel every other day, to the idea that we’re watching the leaders of Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates come together in the name of peace — absolutely monumental, historic, definitely a legacy point for President Trump.”

Hundreds protested across the Palestinian territories this week against the normalisation deal.

On announcing the normalisation agreement on 13 August, the UAE claimed the pact would suspend Israel's plans to annex roughly 30 percent of the West Bank.

However details of the deal published in the media made no mention of such a clause.


Netanyahu reiterated in August that Israel was "committed" to realising the controversial annexation plans, which he said were only temporarily postponed, not cancelled.

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